Simplicity – homemade egg pasta

December 7, 2009 in cooking, Food Porn, How-2, recipe

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Some foods, like homemade bread, are more than just “cooking” and can be more like therapy.

Pasta is like this.

I was raised in a family where pasta was considered junk food, needless carbohydrates (obviously, we are not Italian or Asian!).

In Colombia, the starch of choice is rice and various tropical starch crops like the ever delicious yuca (cassava root to Americans).

To shake things up and also to get some of that food therapy, I make homemade pasta on occasion.

If you are interested in truly wholesome and healthy pasta, consider the sprouted whole wheat pasta I made in this post – Homemade Sprouted Whole Wheat Pasta.

That recipes takes days so its for the organized cook!

Sometimes you just want some delicious fresh pasta with little hassle and thats not hard.

You can choose to do it all by hand or you can use a food processor. I show the use of a processor here.

You can add additional nutrition (quickly) by using spinach puree, carrot puree, or other amendments to change the color and flavor.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Homemade Egg Pasta

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs (we used eggs from our chickens)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons water (depends on dryness of your flour and size of your eggs)

Directions

Put all ingredients (except water) into your food processor.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Turn it on and let it go until you get smallish pea like dough.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Homemade White Flour Pasta

You want it to have some body and for it to stick together when you pinch it.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

I didnt add water until after I had dumped this mix out. I didnt want the water to overly activate the gluten formation in the dough (that leads to toughness!).

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Bring the dough together and add 3 to 4 tablespoons of water. Knead dough for some 10 minutes to get it as smooth as you can. Mine was still a bit on the rough side but I went ahead to the next step.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Put this dough into a baggie or wrap in plastic and let sit at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Once the dough has rested, cut into 4 pieces and roll out each piece while the rest is still under wraps. Roll it out as thin as you possibly can. You can also use a pasta machine!

I cant use mine because it has polymer clay stuck in it :-(.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Once rolled out, cut it as you like. I cut ours into a fettuccine sort of noodle. I am sure an Italian grandma would beat me about the head and shoulders and throw me out of the kitchen if she saw this but, hey, she never met my grandma nor made arepas either.

I use a pizza cutter to make my pasta strips. My 6 yo and my 3 yo helped me cut it all up. They loved helping out.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Hang up these dough strips while you roll out and cut the other balls.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Next its into salted boiling water.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Boil it until it has the texture YOU like.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Have your sauce and meat (we chose sausages) warming and ready to serve.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Serve and add some Parmesan if you like.

Homemade White Flour Pasta

Enjoy!

Making Queso Blanco with goat milk

July 23, 2009 in cheese, How-2, milk, recipe

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Wow, our ISP (to remain unnamed for the moment) REALLLLLY screwed us over, on galactic proportions. I feel shaky having come out the other end of this nightmare.

My blogs are back and I am hoping our new ISP has more ethics than the last.

Today I am going to show you how to make an acid precipitated cheese called Queso Blanco. This is similar to paneer (Indian Cuisine) and is quite popular in latino cooking. We also have Queso Fresco which is different. I actually prefer queso fresco but I didnt have the cultures needed to make that cheese on hand.

I made 3 gallons worth of queso blanco because I had an over abundance of milk from our 7 milking LaMancha goats who are giving us between 2 to 2.5 gallons a day now.

You can learn more about our real local backyard food at my homestead blog Humble Garden.

I mentioned that this is an acid precipitated cheese. What that means is that the casein protein in the milk is rendered solid (and no longer able to float about in the fluid of milk) by changes made to the protein molecules by the acid. In this case, that acid is added (lemon juice, vinegar, citric acid, etc). Other cheese rely on lactobacillus bacteria to grow in the fluid milk. Over time, their metabolic byproducts include lactic acid which then, once the fluid reaches the correct pH, causes the change in the protein to form the curd. This second method yields more depth and allows for the creation of a cheese that stores long in some cases (versus queso blanco which must be eaten fresh).

Ok, without further discussion, lets get into the how-2.

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon milk (I use raw goat milk but it wont stay raw)
  • 1/4 C lemon juice or white vinegar (though you have to go slowly, you may need more or less)

Directions:

Making Queso Blanco

Heat the milk in a non-aluminum pot to 185 F, do not burn!

Making Queso Blanco

Use a thermometer and stir to keep the temperature evened out in the pot.

Making Queso Blanco

Once it hits 185 F, kill the heat and add the vinegar and stir gently and then let it sit for 5 minutes.

Making Queso Blanco

If you do not see the curd separating from the whey (white clumps in yellowish greenish liquid) then carefully add more vinegar until you get the curd.

Making Queso Blanco

Stir for 5 minutes to keep it from clumping up.

Making Queso Blanco

Pour the whole mixture (its hot!) into a cheese cloth lined colander over a large bowl in the sink.

Making Queso Blanco

Mix this slightly in the colander to encourage release of more whey.

Making Queso Blanco

Now comes a 2 part pressing process. I do not have a proper cheese press yet and my scale died so I had to guess on actual weights.

What you want is:

  • 20 minutes pressed at 10 pounds
  • 2.5 hours pressed at 25 pounds

What follows is how I jury rigged it all!

Put your well drained cheese in it’s cheese cloth, made into a tidy little ball, on a plate, and then add what is called a follower (in my case the base to a spring release pan form).

Making Queso Blanco

Add 10 pounds of weight.

Making Queso Blanco

After 20 minutes, add enough weight to make it 25 pounds and leave for 2.5 hours.

Making Queso Blanco

Making Queso Blanco

When done you will have a well pressed cake of cheese! Refrigerate and eat within the week.

Making Queso Blanco

I love serving it with freshly made hot Colombian arepas.

Making Queso Blanco

Homemade Sprouted Whole Wheat Pasta

June 10, 2009 in cooking, How-2, ingredient, recipe

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(Ingredients)

A couple of posts ago, I showed you how easy it is to make sprouted whole wheat flour. In that post, Making Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour, I talked at length on the reasons for sprouting your grains so I wont delve into that today.

Instead, I am going to share one way I have used this flour for lasagna pasta. I will be posting on how this pasta came out a bit later when I review Tassajara Dinners & Desserts.

This recipe is pretty basic, you can piece it together online. As with anything made with flour, the recipe is a guideline because each batch of flour, the world over, will have its own unique level of hydration thus the amount of liquid needed to make it come together will be unique. For this reason, it takes some practice, a willingness to experiment and to fail, even with precious ingredients like this sprouted whole wheat flour that you have spent all this time with. If you lock up with anxiety, then its not fun and then you gotta wonder why you are doing it at all!

Thus, when you give this recipe a try, have a sense of play and don’t stress out if you need to add more liquid, you may very well. I did. I didn’t list the full amount in the recipe because I didn’t want you to start out using that amount but to rather use as needed.

In this case, the extra liquid I used was a freshly juiced spinach and carrot juice that I made on my new Champion Juicer that I got to review and share with you. I will be writing a review on this blog and also at my raw food blog Raw+Simple.

Champion Juicer review

(Spinach being juiced with a Champion Juicer)

Homemade Sprouted Whole Wheat Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups freshly ground sprouted whole wheat flour
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons high quality cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • Spinach/Carrot juice (freshly juiced)
  • Pinch sea salt

Directions:

Sprouted Whole Wheat Pasta

(Adding eggs)

On a clean surface, make a mound of the 3 cups of sprouted whole wheat flour and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour. Make an indentation in the mound and start adding eggs. You will have to get your hands messy for this!

Sprouted Whole Wheat Pasta

(Mixing)

Sprouted Whole Wheat Pasta

(Mixed)

Add all eggs, oil and 1 tablespoon juice (if using) and then use a fork to carefully break the eggs and do an initial mix of the eggs. Now, with your fingers, start mixing in the flour without knocking down the walls. Just take your time.

Once the dough is together enough to knead, knead it like bread dough for 5 minutes to incorporate. This is the time when you will likely need to add more liquid. I added the spinach carrot juice until the ball came together and was not hard or overtly dry. It took about 4 ounces.

Sprouted Whole Wheat Pasta

(Resting)

Once the dough has come together, put in a plastic baggie, seal, and allow to rest for 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on what your day is like.

Sprouted Whole Wheat Pasta

(Portioned)

After resting, portion out some balls that equal about the amount that you think you want for your lasagna sheets. You can make any sort of pasta you wish.

Sprouted Whole Wheat Pasta

(Rolling out)

Roll out sheets on a lightly floured board.

Sprouted Whole Wheat Pasta

(Drying)

Hang up sheets and allow to dry until a bit stiff. Store in the refrigerator until use. I suggest using it as soon as possible as this flour has all of it’s oils and germ, not meant for super long term storage.

When ready to use, do not boil for long and do it right before you assemble your lasagna.

Let me know if you give this a try!

How to make Homemade Buttermilk Saltines

December 7, 2007 in baking, bread, How-2

The slideshow above will take you through the process of making homemade Buttermilk Saltines.

You might ask WHY one would want to make saltines when they are so cheap at the store. I guess I am the sort that can not leave well enough alone. I also can’t help being a scientist, even though I am not at the bench. I tend to want to dig into a food and deconstruct it, make it myself, know it from the beginning.

I also ran out of them and didn’t have a way to get to the store!

Making proper old fashioned saltines is not hard, per se, but it requires one to use a bit of planning.

Why? Well, this is because it takes TWO DAYS to make! Its nothing near as tedious as making puff pastry. No, its just that yeast needs time to do it’s magic.

Homemade Saltines: How To

I searched the web for a recipe and decided on the following recipe, which I sourced at this link.

These came out very flavorful and the major advantage to making your own saltines is that you can use your favorite salt (Celtic, black Hawaiian, fluorescent Martian, iridescent jade salt from Atlantis, your choice).

It also means you can put other things on like black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, rosemary, sage, just about anything.

If you try this, let me know!

Homemade Saltines: Cayenne Saltines

Cayenne dusted Buttermilk Saltines

Traditional Buttermilk Saltines

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dry active yeast (1 package contains 2-1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 C warm water
  • 4 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon water for dissolving the baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 C butter (softened)

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the yeast with the sugar and warm water. Set aside until the yeast is fully dissolved, 5 to 10 minutes.

Measure 3-1/2 cups of the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture and mix well.

Place plastic wrap over the bowl and let the dough rest in a warm place for 20 to 30 hours.

The plastic wrap keeps the dough from drying out during this long period.

In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the tablespoon water. Place the baking soda mixture, buttermilk, salt, and shortening in the bowl with the dough and mix well.

Mix in as much of the remaining 1/2 to 1 cup flour as necessary to form a stiff, nonsticky dough.

Knead for a minute or two and then let the dough rest, covered with the plastic wrap, for 15 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for another few minutes, until it is smooth and springy to the touch.

Place it in a large, clean, lightly oiled bowl and let it rest for another 3 or 4 hours, covered with plastic wrap.

At last you are ready to roll.

Preheat the oven to 450~ F.

Punch the dough down and knead a few strokes. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions for rolling.

Rolling may be difficult at first due to the elasticity of the dough. Give yourself a head start on the rolling by flattening the dough with your hands.

Place your rolling pin in the center of the dough and begin. Soon the dough will relax and begin to roll easily.

On a floured surface or pastry cloth, roll out to a rectangle approximately 1/4 inch thick and position so the long edge runs horizontally in front of you.

Fold the left third of the dough over the center third. Likewise, fold the right third over the center.

The dough is now in 3 layers with the seam running vertically.

Give the dough a quarter turn so the seam now runs horizontally.

Roll out again to a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.

Fold and turn the dough again as in the first step.

You are now ready for the final rolling.

Roll the dough out thinner this time, about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. If desired, sprinkle the top lightly and evenly with salt and roll over it lightly with the rolling pin.

With a sharp knife (we used a pizza cutter!), cut into 2-inch squares and place each one on an ungreased baking sheet.

Prick each square 2 or 3 times with the tines of a fork.

Bake for 8 minutes.

Turn and bake an additional 1 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Cool on a rack.

Yield: 95-100.